There are two kinds of spiritual laws, two kinds of conscience, one in men and a quite different one in women. They do not
understand each other; but the woman is judged in practical life according to the man's law, as if she were not a woman but
The wife in the play finds herself at last entirely at sea as to what is right and what wrong; natural
feeling on the one side, and belief in authority on the other, leave her in utter bewilderment.
A woman cannot
be herself in the society of to-day, which is exclusively a masculine society, with laws written by men, and with accusers
and judges who judge feminine conduct from the masculine standpoint.
She has committed forgery, and it is her
pride; for she did it for love of her husband, and to save his life. But this husband, full of everyday rectitude, stands
on the basis of the law and regards the matter with a masculine eye.
Soul-struggles. Oppressed and bewildered
by belief in authority, she loses her faith in her own moral right and ability to bring up her children. Bitterness. A mother
in the society of to-day, like certain insects, (ought to) go away and die when she has done her duty towards the continuance
of the species. Love of life, of home, of husband and children and kin. Now and then a womanlike shaking off of cares. Then
a sudden return of apprehension and dread. She must bear it all alone. The catastrophe approaches, inexorably, inevitably.
Despair, struggle, and disaster.